Bridges are a natural-looking replacement for one or more missing teeth. Because they are custom-made, bridges are barely noticeable and can restore the natural contour of teeth as well as the proper bite. Your existing teeth are used to literally create a bridge to cross the area where your tooth is missing. Bridges are made from porcelain, gold, or metal alloys to ensure that they are strong and durable.
The teeth on either side of the missing tooth are re-contoured to provide a base for the bridge (similar to a crown preparation). A dental laboratory is able to create a bridge that will fit properly and feel as close to your natural teeth as possible. The bridge is then cemented into place. Your dental bridge may take a little while to get used to, but after a few days it should feel like you have your own teeth back again.
If you are missing a tooth you should consider having it replaced. Besides the aesthetic disadvantage of missing a tooth, it could also cause structural changes to your mouth and jaw, as well as making it difficult to eat or speak properly. Set up an appointment today to restore your smile.
There are three main types of dental bridges:
- Traditional bridges involve creating a crown for the tooth or implant on either side of the missing tooth, with a pontic in between. Traditional bridges are the most common type of bridge and are made of either porcelain fused to metal or ceramics.
- Cantilever bridges are used when there are adjacent teeth on only one side of the missing tooth or teeth. This is not very common anymore and is not recommended in the back of the mouth where it can put too much force on other teeth and damage them.
- Maryland bonded bridges (also called a resin-bonded bridge or a Maryland bridge) are made of porcelain, teeth supported by a metal or porcelain framework. Metal or porcelain wings often on just one side of the bridge are bonded to your existing teeth.
- Restore your smile
- Restore the ability to properly chew and speak
- Maintain the shape of your face
- Distribute the forces in your bite properly by replacing missing teeth
- Prevent remaining teeth from drifting out of position
During the first visit for getting a dental bridge, the abutment teeth are prepared. Preparation involves recontouring these teeth by removing a portion of enamel to allow room for a crown to be placed over them. Next, impressions of the teeth are made, which serve as a model from which the bridge, pontic, and crowns will be made by a dental lab. Your prosthodontist will make a temporary bridge to wear to protect the exposed teeth and gums while the bridge is being made.
During the second visit, your temporary bridge will be removed and the new porcelain bridge will be checked and adjusted, as necessary, to achieve a proper fit. Multiple visits may be required to check the fit of the framework and bite. If the dental bridge is a fixed bridge, your dentist may temporarily cement it in place for a couple of weeks to make sure it is fitting properly. After a couple weeks, the bridge is cemented into place.
Though your dental bridge should be treated with a bit more care than your natural teeth to reduce discoloration and detachment, you must take good care of your natural teeth as well, especially if they are holding the dental bridge in place. If those teeth become compromised, the stability of the dental bridge and how well your mouth looks and functions may be threatened.